Nothampton High School
High News

Friday 5 April 2019

Pondering my parting message to you for the spring term, my mind travelled down the list of my appointments for just one day of this week (Wednesday, as it happens) and it struck me that my Day in the Life of a Head made a very suitable Life in a Day of the School.

And what a day it has been!  A Class Assembly from Year 4 on Water was a model of cross-curricular learning, featuring science, ecology, oracy, singing and (a first for me) tanka poetry.  A few steps across the Dining Hall, the Sixth Form Rock Band were centre-stage for a very different sort of Assembly, going through their paces with covers from, among others, Arctic Monkeys.  This was closely followed for me by a visit to Reception, finding out more about how the girls use the outdoors for their learning.  The flower beds in their garden are ready for planting and – more joined-up learning here – Mrs Shaw is hoping that the class can make soup from the carrots that they grow this season.  A spell with Year 2 practising number bonds through an Easter Egg Hunt in the grounds completed a deep dive into the many ways in which junior girls can learn through adventure and exploration.

Late morning brought a planning meeting for our visit from BBC’s Question Time team.  Interest in current affairs is at an all-time high among our students and so great excitement greeted the news that we had been selected as the venue for the 9 May Show.  We are keen to make the most of the opportunity for them to gain insights into the logistics of the programme as well as introducing them to the cut and thrust of contemporary political debate.  All the budding TV producers, journalists or politicians out there – this one is for you.

Read more here

Dr Stringer

Week Ahead

Thursday 25 April
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
L5 Trip to Natural History Museum
School Production Rehearsals

Friday 26 April
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals

Saturday 27 April
EYFS Family Fun Morning
Junior School Arts and Crafts Taster

Monday 29 April
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
U3 Tutorials

Tuesday 30 April
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
U3 Tutorials
World Challenge Meeting for Parents and Pupils

Wednesday 1 May
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
U3 Tutorials
Cricket: U13A, B, C, D vs Spratton

Thursday 2 May
School Birthday
Whole School Assembly for School Birthday
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
U3 Tutorials
GCSE Textiles Exam
School Production Rehearsals
Tennis: U13A, B vs Wellingborough

Friday 3 May
Open Morning
GCSE, IGCSE and A Level Orals
U3 Tutorials
GCSE Textiles Exam

School celebrates sporting excellence with Sports Presentation Evening

On Tuesday 2 April, we were delighted to host the premier event in our school sporting calendar, the Sports Presentation Evening. In an event that celebrates sporting excellence, students from both the Junior and the Senior Schools were honoured for their contributions to school sport, as well as their achievements in their chosen sports outside of the classroom.

Since the start of the academic year, our school sports teams have reached 3 National Finals, 5 Regional Finals and became County Champions in two age groups. This is without mentioning the exceptional achievements of their students externally in the world of sport, with students boasting titles in a wide variety of sports such as Equestrian, Karate and Skiing.

We were excited to be joined by 3 stars from the sporting world to help celebrate the festivities. Northampton Saints stars, Jamie Gibson and Luther Burrell, were joined by Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Netballer Eboni Usoro-Brown, to speak passionately to an enthralled audience about their careers, their influences and what makes them strive to achieve greatness.

Congratulations are in order for all of the deserving young athletes who picked up awards during the evening, including Georgie Forde-Wells, who was named as the school’s Sports Personality of the Year, the U16 Netballers who were named as Team of the Year, and Paralympic and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Ellie Robinson, who was awarded the school’s Exceptional Achievement Award.

To view photos from the event, including a group photo of girls who received Commendations, please click here

To view a blog written by Eboni’s team, Mintridge, please click here

Mr Nash
Marketing and Communications Officer

Sports Presentation

Students invited to UK Premiere of award winning Film 'Yuli'

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On Tuesday 2 April, a group of girls ranging from U3 to Sixth Form were given the unique opportunity to be at the UK premiere of the award winning film Yuli. The movie is in Spanish (with subtitles thank goodness!), and tells the story of the world renowned ballet dancer, Carlos Acosta. We learn of his reluctant rise to fame, from the slums of Havana to the English National Ballet and the Houston Ballet.

The A Level Spanish students had the incredible chance to interview the Director herself, Icíar Bollaín, and we spent an amazing hour talking to her in a mixture of Spanish and English, asking questions about her experience as a woman in the world of film making, both as an Actor and Director.

At the end of the film, the rest of the group were also given the chance to speak to her during a Q&A session; she told us many amusing behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the making of Yuli.

We are all extremely grateful to Mrs Diez for organising this event – we had an amazing time! ¡Muchas gracias por todo!


See all photos

School hosts students as part of the German Exchange programme

From Tuesday 26 March to Tuesday 2 April, we were delighted to host the third visit from our German exchange school, the Dr. Johanna-Decker-Gymnasium in Amberg, Bavaria.

The German students were hosted by our Upper Fourth and Lower Fifth German students and their families, and enjoyed excursions to Cambridge, the National Space Centre in Leicester, and London, as well as spending time with their partners in lessons. It was a great opportunity for our German guests to experience school and family life, and they have returned to Germany with wonderful memories of their visit. We are already excited about our return trip to Amberg this July.

Below is a report from Hannah in U4:

Mrs Hill 
Head of Languages

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Initially I was apprehensive about how I would get on with my German partner; we had built a relationship through messaging and writing, but I was still nervous. Would we get on? Would she enjoy being with my family? However, I needn’t have worried. At first, we were both a little shy but once we got to know each other we became very good friends – it helped that Madeleine spoke superb English and that she was very patient with my attempts at communicating in German.

My family organised a range of activities in the week to give her a good experience of living in England. Some of the highlights were when we met up with my friends and their exchange partners, because we were able to listen to their very fast conversations in German! It made me want to understand more and join in!

This trip has definitely improved my German and inspired me to work hard to become fluent. I wish we had more time to accompany them on their excursions so that we could have had more exposure to the language. Participating in this exchange has made me push myself as I was always thinking of things I could say. I’m really glad the students came here first and I can’t wait to see them in Amberg in July for what will be a really fun trip!

Mrs Hill would like to thank all the girls who participated in the exchange and their families, and also Mrs Gates who dealt with the paperwork necessary to make this kind of visit possible.


'Spectroscopy in a Suitcase' visits Northampton High

On Wednesday 3 April, our 6.2 Chemists were treated to a visit from Tracy McGhie and her colleagues from the University of Leicester to experience the amazing Spectroscopy in a Suitcase.

The scene was a set as a murder mystery, and the students had to analyse certain powders found at the scene of a crime to see if they could catch the murderer. The students had a recap of their spectroscopy lessons and were then ready to use the equipment.

To give an idea of the equipment they used, the Infrared spectrometer, which was able to identify specific functional groups in a compound, is about £17,000 to purchase and the Mass Spectrometer is around half a million pounds!

The students ran through their range of samples to identify the compounds using a set of reference tables. In order to catch the killer, the students had to analyse both Infrared and Mass Spectroscopy spectra they had run themselves, alongside information taken from the crime scene, and use these to come to a valid conclusion based on their evidence. The students found this invaluable as this is what they will be asked to do in their upcoming exams. After the killer had been identified, the students got to analyse their own aspirin samples they had made with Mrs Flanagan earlier in the school year during a required practical.

We are so fortunate to be able to offer this opportunity to our students, and would like to thank the University of Leicester, in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry, for their time.

Mrs Hodgetts-Tate
Head of Science

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6.1 Physicists enjoy Partical Physics masterclass at Warwick University

On Tuesday 2 April, the 6.1 Physicists and Mrs Battams visited Warwick University for a Particle Physics Masterclass.

Firstly, students had two lectures from current Particle Physics PhD students. It was exciting to hear about the cutting-edge research going on and the involvement that our speaker had as a student. We learnt about the standard model with the 17 fundamental particles (6 quarks, 6 leptons and 5 bosons) and the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012. We learnt about the current areas of research in Particle Physics aiming to answer questions such as, ‘Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe?’ ‘How can neutrinos change flavour (between electron, tauon and muon neutrinos)?’ and ‘What are dark energy and dark matter?’

During lunch students talked to PhD students and lecturers, including the Head of the Particle Physics department who tried to answer some  questions, such as, ‘Why do neutrons exist in a seemingly stable state in the nucleus when we would expect to see them decay in just 885.7 seconds?’

After lunch we took part in a computer exercise to try to find the lifetime of the Dmeson. This first involved identifying particle tracks for the decay products of the D0 meson from real data form the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, in order to calculate a value of mass of the D0 meson. We then looked at several other pieces of evidence from Cern on the D0 meson and did some statistical analysis to build up data points for the lifetime of the particle. Eventually we put our individual results together and found a value of the lifetime to be 0.42 picoseconds.

The day culminated with a live link to Particle Physicist at Cern and other centres around the world. We all shared our value for the lifetime of the D0 meson and watched as the results were all pulled together. We saw Alexa’s results being shared across the world! The Particle Physics Professor at Cern took our questions and Ellie did us proud by asking which hadrons are used in the LHC (the answer: Protons as they contain a lot of mass and energy, are stable and cheap!). A Cern Engineer gave us a tour of the LHC and we were astounded by the engineering involved in the collider: the biggest machine in the world!  Finally, we all took part in a Particle Physics Quiz. Mrs Battams’ competitive nature kicked in and she was very disappointed when our very own Rena beat her and won with 100% correct.

This was an inspiring trip which was enjoyed by all.


The Classics department host Dr. Angeliki Roumpou of Nottingham University

On Friday 29 March, the school’s Classics department were delighted to host Dr. Angeliki Roumpou of Nottingham University for a lunchtime lecture on Virgil’s Aeneid, which is a set text both at A level and GCSE.

This was the second time we were able to welcome Dr. Roumpou to the school, and the focus of this lecture was on on ‘Dido and Aeneas’ to aid U5’s Easter revision on Books 4 and 6. Dr. Roumpou delivered a fascinating talk, and fielded several challenging questions from her audience, ranging from her personal opinions of Aeneas’ duty, sympathy for the victims of Augustus and the role of Dido.

Thanks to Miss Balchin especially for arranging the talk and introducing her friend and colleague.

Miss Mason
Teacher of Classics

6.2 students participate in first Open University 'ACE' LiveStream

On Monday 1 April, The Classics department and 6.2 students were delighted to be able to participate in the first Open University/Advocating Classics Education (ACE) LiveStream.

In a facinating event, sessions included a Q&A on studying Classics at University, ‘inspirational’ moments when studying Classics at A Level, a Greek theatre seminar and mini-Dionysia festival by Dr Jan Heywood and Dr Christine Plastow, as well as a keynote discussion from Professor Edith Hall on how Aristotle can change our lives.

We were fortunate that Professor Hall answered two of our questions live, and were grateful to be a part of such a unique event.

Miss Mason
Teacher of Classics

U4 students treated to enriching talks on the Roman Army

The Classics department and U4 students have been lucky enough to be treated to not one but two guest speakers in the past fortnight, to enrich our learning on the culture topic of the Roman Army.

Mr Stubbs, our very own Premises Manager, talked to us about the similarities and differences between the recruitment, training, camps and uniform of the Roman Army and modern British Armed Forces, before accepting questions, which included some reflection on his own experiences serving in The Royal Green Jackets.

Ezri Mannion, one of our 6.2 Classicists, also gave us an insight into her experiences in the Army Cadet Force, including an explanation of the many enrichment opportunities (such as bog snorkelling) which are on offer in comparison to the baths, amphitheatre and dice games available to Roman soldiers. U4 are now putting finishing touches to their Roman Army projects, and we look forward to seeing their final presentations.

Miss Mason
Teacher of Classics

School to host 'World Class Universities Evening'

As mentioned at the recent Higher Education Evening, we are holding a number of follow up events including an optional World Class Universities Evening on Tuesday 7 May. If your daughter is considering studying at Oxford or Cambridge or at a World Class University abroad, you may find the evening of interest.

There will be presentations from David Hawkins from Hawkins Global Education and Elena Sorochina from St Hugh’s College in Oxford, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentations. There will also be a roadshow of visiting universities from the USA and Canada.

If you would like your daughter to attend, please let me know via by Friday 3 May, and if you would like any more information on the event, please do get in touch.

Mrs Cantwell
Director of Sixth Form

Music Recital and Composition Showcase

Yesterday evening saw the introduction of a new event – the Music Examination Class Showcase Evening. The event, designed to showcase some of the wonderful composition work completed by Upper Fifth and 6.2 students for their GCSE and A Level studies respectively, was a great opportunity for younger students to hear the work composed by older girls, and was coupled with a performance opportunity for girls in younger year groups.

The varied programme of music featured the composition pieces from a range of genres played to a spellbound audience, accompanied by the musical score on screen. The evening was punctuated by performances from talented musicians from across the school – from the Junior Recorder Ensemble to Zara playing Handel on her Harp, culminating ladies from the High School Community Chamber Choir singing a moving rendition of ‘I Remember’ with the Junior Singing Stars.

This end of term recital highlighted the amalgamantion of music-making across the schools, and will become, we hope, an annual celebration of musical talent in the busy school calendar.

Mrs Wilmot
Director of Admissions and Marketing

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High School Sport

On Sunday 30 March, 11 U13 girls travelled to Gresham’s School in Norfolk for a festival of Hockey.

The weekend consisted of indoor and outdoor matches, and although the outdoor matches were friendlies, everyone took them very seriously. We enjoyed wins against Ipswich School 7-0 and also Langley Hall 1-0, but we did come across some tough opposition losing against Gresham 4-1 and Grasshoppers 2-1.

In the indoor tournament, the A team consisting of Alice, Arianna, Bella, Charlotte and Phoebe, won two and drew one, which helped us make it into the cup. Sadly, Gresham’s were a strong opposition and we lost in the quarter finals 2-0.

On the B team made up of Cecily, Ella, Emma, Izzy and Jayna we successfully qualified for the plate. In the final against Monkton School, the end result was 0-0, leading the game to shuffles. Although the girls tried their very best we lost 3-0.

In between matches we found time to go on the tallest zip wire in Britain – everyone really enjoyed it! Player of the Tournament went to Simran and Players’ Player was awarded to Ella.

Well done to all the girls who participated in the tournament; it was an enjoyable weekend of hockey.


Creative Arts Spotlight

This week’s Creative Arts Spotlight falls onto Leona. Leona has performed exceptionally well over the course of the term with preparation for her recorder assessment. She was able to perform Bach’s ‘Minuet in G’ with added ornamentation.

Well done Leona!

Mr Nathan
Director of Music

Book Review

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Older Fiction Award 2019

Recommended for U4 and above

Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic.

Miss Buxton
School Librarian

GDST Junior Shakespeare Festival

Save the Date: Open Day Friday 3 May

Open Days


Girls Cricket at Brixworth Cricket Club

Term Dates

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